LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — UNLV has announced Mike Thomas, widely considered the greatest running back in school history, died at 66 years old in his home state of Texas.
Thomas transferred to UNLV from the University of Oklahoma and became the program’s only two-time first team All-American. As a junior in 1973, he set a school record with 20 touchdowns and led the nation in rushing yards with 1,741. At the time, that was just 35 yards shy of the NCAA single-season record.
In his senior season, Thomas racked up 1,408 yards and 17 more rushing touchdowns, leading the Rebels to their only undefeated regular season and a D-II ranking as high as No. 2 before losing in the national semifinal game.
Thomas has the record for most rush yards in a game — 314 yards vs. Santa Clara in 1973.
Thomas also put together a solid pro career, earning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 1975 and making the Pro Bowl in 1976.
He was inducted into the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989.
Funeral services are planned for Saturday at the Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. A memorial service is also planned for next Friday at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Texas.